We watched the Discovery Channel’s Supervolcano last night. Billed as a “true story” that “just hasn’t happened yet,” the movie was a surprisingly good mix of facts and drama that made for a very enjoyable viewing experience. With big disaster movies like Armageddon and The Day After Tomorrow sacrificing scientific accuracy for dramatic license it was very refreshing to see a film that married the two together pretty well.
The story focuses on Yellowstone National Park and the fact that it is basically a huge active volcano that measures some 45 by 30 miles that has a tendency to have a super eruption every 650,000 years or so. The story gives us a worst-case scenario of what would happen if Yellowstone were to repeat its biggest eruption today. Let’s just say it would be a whole lot of not fun that would impact the world dramatically for years to come. It’s all based on what we know about the previous eruptions and what the effects of smaller eruptions from other volcanoes and it shows that there’s plenty of drama to be found in science accurate fiction. The Discovery Channel will re-air the movie on Saturday, April 16th at 8PM and again at 11PM so be sure to catch it if you haven’t already seen it. We really enjoyed it. At the end Tom Brokaw comes out and talks with a bunch of scientists about the movie and Yellowstone park which made for a nice followup.
Favorite line in the movie comes from a scene where two volcano experts and a marine are holed up in a military bunker in Colorado. As volcanic ash is piling up outside they’re debating whether they should stay put or try to walk to a safer location:
Expert 1: No, we should stay put and wait for them to find us.
Expert 2: If we stay put we’re going to starve to death before we’re ever rescued.
Expert 1: Not if we eat Johnson.
Marine: Heh. Just try it.